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Rochdale Borough Renaissance Masterplan

Rochdale is undergoing a radical scale of regeneration, guided by the Masterplan, which is transforming the borough into a thriving place to live, work and do business.

The Masterplan provides a clear framework directing these changes and illustrates how public and private sector investment in partnership can deliver a true transformation of the Borough.

A Clear Picture
The well-received 2005 Masterplan gave our partners a clear picture of how we wanted to drive change within the Borough, and how they could help us achieve it.

A True Vision
Our Progress Report, published in 2008, highlights just how much we have achieved in the meantime and how our vision holds true.

Building On Success
The 2010 Rochdale Borough Renaissance Masterplan built on this success, charting the progress we have made and maintaining a clear vision of how the Borough will develop despite the challenging economic situation.

Working Together
This Masterplan has been prepared following a wide consultation process involving many key agencies with several stakeholder workshops, held at key stages in the process during which organisations have come together to help shape the emerging strategy.

If you would like further information about the Masterplan, or to request a free hard copy, contact the Special Projects Team using the contact details on this page.

The Masterplan will focus on delivering 7 key themes:

1.   Creating sustainable neighbourhoods

Improving the attractiveness and sustainability of neighbourhoods in each of the townships lies at the heart of the masterplan to improve the quality of life in the Borough. It is the key to retaining existing residents, attracting new residents and accommodating the wide range of age groups, family sizes, ethnic groups and income levels that are necessary for diversity and sustainability.

The quality of the Borough's neighbourhoods needs to be improved by focusing on those key elements that make up an attractive sustainable area:

  • Choice of housing
  • Quality local schools
  • Access to employment
  • Access to local shops and services
  • Attractive local parks
  • Accessible public transport

Rochdale’s housing must be appropriate to meet the needs of all of the Borough’s citizens. In particular it must help to retain the Borough’s young people and attract new residents. It must be affordable, flexible, attractive and high quality.

Overall principles

  • Development should continue to be accommodated primarily within the present urban boundary rather than spilling into the green belt. Brownfield sites, derelict and underused land should be targeted for new development and quality public space in order to both protect Greenfield sites and make best use of urban land and infrastructure.
  • Housing and employment uses can be mixed within neighbourhoods where these uses are compatible so that journey to work trips can be maximised.
  • To encourage greater use of public transport there should be greater density of development around transport links, for example where the proposed Metrolink stops.
  • The principles of sustainable development should be adopted. These are social progress that recognises the needs of everyone; protection of the natural environment; prudent use of natural resources; including energy; and maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment
  • Continue the current practice of preparing detailed neighbourhood plans supported by strong community involvement in areas of major change.

2.   Developing 21st century employment sites

Maximum advantage needs to be taken of the Borough's existing transport connections to attract new employment opportunities. Transport connections need to be modernised and improved. Improvements in public transport as well as private transport are required. The town centres and strategic corridors and major new business parks - particularly Kingsway Park - can meet the needs of new economic activities and can offer a wide variety of employment prospects to existing and new residents. Supported by the Metrolink and improved rail services, new jobs can help to create a more balanced commuter flow by bringing more workers into the Borough.

Rochdale has a moderately weak economy. The local economy has a high proportion of jobs in the manufacturing sector compared to the national average and employment in this sector is shrinking. The number of start up businesses is relatively low and there are no significant clusters of firms.

However, Rochdale has a strong presence of medium sized businesses and new businesses have been attracted to the Borough in increasing numbers; there are significant opportunities for future economic growth.

There are significant opportunities upon which the Borough can capitalise. Namely its advantageous position within the Greater Manchester conurbation and the spin-off opportunities from establishment of Manchester as a knowledge capital. The Borough must grow and expand with the regional economy and present and market itself to this end.

The key challenge is to ensure that the physical infrastructure - sites premises and transport - is in place. Resources must be concentrated on those sectors that offer the best prospects for attracting new investment and jobs and sustaining and supporting existing local employment. Key growth and investment points include the major motorway locations (Heywood, Stakehill and Kingsway) the four town centres and sites along the key transport corridors to the south of the Borough linking Rochdale with Manchester.

Overall principles

  • Develop major business parks along the motorway corridors
  • Invest in new commercial development on the corridors between motorways and town centres
  • Promote high quality live/work developments in suburban locations
  • Relocate inappropriate employment uses from residential areas onto more appropriate sites

3.   Establishing thriving town centres

The Borough’s town centres are key to the Rochdale Borough Renaissance and the Masterplan proposes re-establishing them as the primary focus for living, shopping, civic, commercial and cultural life.

The Borough’s four main towns, Rochdale, Middleton, Heywood and Littleborough each have a key role to play both within the context of their townships and the success of the Borough. All can offer a destination for residents and visitors alike and convoy a positive image to the outside world.

Town centres have a role as places for civic expression and as centres of service and economic activity. Improvement should focus on the quality and range of what is on offer, the quality of the built environment, the mix of uses, and the impact of vehicles.

Overall principles

  • Major investment in new shops, offices and housing in Rochdale town centre
  • Deliver improvement in the shopping offer and urban environment in Middleton, Heywood and Littleborough town centres
  • Develop the role of town centres as major hubs of economic activity
  • Concentrate leisure and cultural environments largely in town centres, for example, Middleton Arena, a new cultural / arts centre at the rear of Rochdale Town Hall
  • Promote town centre residential development

4.   Capitalising on our environmental assets

The natural environment – the countryside, the topography and the water – is one of the Borough’s greatest assets. Making more use of the Borough’s green spaces and promoting active leisure is an essential part of developing the image as a place to enjoy an attractive lifestyle. The Masterplan aims to promote the countryside as a major asset and connect it to our neighbourhoods through river valleys and environmental corridors.

Overall principles

  • Make the most of our countryside by opening up access to it and views to and from it
  • Establish green corridors along river valleys and open spaces to connect the countryside to the urban core
  • Develop outstanding town parks and local spaces, connected by safe green links
  • Develop the Pennine villages, and associated countryside and water, as a tourist destination

The challenge here is to increase accessibility to the countryside and connect the urban area of the countryside through river valley’s and green corridors.  A new structure to the green spaces of the Borough is therefore proposed which links all these assets together.

5.   Focusing on strategic gateways and corridors

Gateways are the main entrance points to the Borough usually related to road or rail. Corridors are the main routes for environmental, transportation and recreational links. Internally they provide key movement routes connecting the Borough’s communities with employment, retail and recreational areas.

Gateways and corridors have a role to play in assisting regeneration and physical renewal. Critically these routes affect the perception and image of the Borough and most require substantial and urgent investment in order to provide users with a better experience. In terms of the economic regeneration of the Borough some major investment opportunities are found where these corridors meet.

Overall principles

  • Concentrate investment and environmental improvement on key gateway and transport
  • corridors
  • Major gateways need to create a sense of arrival and high quality profile and image for the
  • Borough
  • Major strategic corridors will be the focus for investment, development and substantial
  • environmental improvement
  • Where a junction of corridors meet, this should be a focal point for investment

At a number of locations there are major gateways and these present excellent opportunities to create a sense of arrival and a high quality profile and image for the Borough. The key gateways are:

  • M62 Junction 19 – to Heywood and Middleton
  • M62 Junction 20 – at the A627M
  • M62 Junction 21 – where the new junction layout will create a new entrance to Kingsway Business Park and beyond
  • M60 Junction 19 at Rhodes
  • Rochdale Railway station / Metrolink stop
  • A58 / Todmorden Road junction in Littleborough
  • M66 Junction 2 at Heap Bridge

Comprehensive improvement schemes will be developed for each of them incorporating landscaping and possibly major public art projects. It may also be appropriate to develop buildings of outstanding architectural quality at key gateway locations, such as Kingsway.

Major strategic corridors will be the focus for investment, development and substantial environmental improvement. The key corridors are:

  • Major motorways (the M62 and M60)
  • Local road network (Oldham Road, the A627, the A58 and the A664);Major public transport corridors (the Metrolink and existing rail service)
  • Rochdale Canal

Along each of the key corridors there should be comprehensive plans to maximise investment opportunities, create high quality street scenes, integrate transport modes and maximise environmental opportunities and linkages.

6.   Accessible and integrated transport

Accessibility will be critical to achieving the vision for Rochdale Borough. Improving access to town centres, employment sites and services is vital as the Borough develops and redefines its image.

The Borough has an excellent location on the motorway network and this has been reinforced through the completion of the M60 orbital motorway. It is essential that this advantage be built-upon by continuously improving access to the motorways within the Borough and concentrating developments along strategic corridors.

Radical improvements will also be required in the field of public transport in order to improve connections within the city region, improve services and replace outworn facilities.

Overall principles:

  • Maintain competitive advantage provided by continuously improving our motorway accessibility. For example:  the new junction 21 on the M62Improve rail infrastructure and services on the Rochdale Manchester Leeds line and the Oldham loop line
  • Develop a complete Quality Bus Corridor network
  • Build new and improved transport interchanges. For example: Rochdale bus station – Metrolink interchange.

7.   Design and image

Across the Borough attention must be paid to the design and quality of newly built development to change the image of the Borough and to contribute positively to the sense of place and character. Natural features – the hills, green spaces and water should play an important role in shaping future development proposals.

Good quality design is central to all of the objectives of this Masterplan. Good quality design will improve the investment climate, make the Borough an attractive place to live, and help to improve social inclusion.

Design principles for Rochdale

Building on the principles established by The Commission on Architect and the Built Environment (CABE), future development in the Borough should create places that:

  • Have a distinct character and sense of identity
  • Have a sense of continuity and enclosure
  • Have a public realm; which can be easily maintained
  • Ensure ease of movement
  • Are legible
  • Are adaptable
  • Promote diversity
  • Designing for Community Safety

For further information about the Masterplan, or to request a free hard copy, contact the Special Projects Team using the contact details on this page.


01706 927000

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Rochdale Development Agency
Floor 3 Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU